As the Forza Series reaches its 10th year, we got our hands on Forza Motorsport 6. With Project CARS getting a good reception from racing simulation fans, can Turn 10 Studios grab some traction back? Let’s see.
Forza Motorsport 6 returns with an impressive roster of cars (460 to be precise) for you to experience across a wide range of disciplines. The Cover star, the 2017 Ford GT is also the first car you’ll drive in the game. You’ll spend the first hour or so being guided through a tutorial, before being cut loose to play the game how you want.
One of the first things you will notice is the redesigned UI, it looks great and is very simple to navigate, it also shows off just how much there is to do in the game. You’ll also receive snippets of information from Richard Hammond, James May, Tanner Foust and the soothing tones of Forza’s voiceover lady.
Forza 6’s Career mode is where you will spend a lot of your time, with more than 70 hours of gameplay across 26 destinations, including Daytona, Hockenheim and Rio Di Janeiro. I’ve previously found the careers of Forza to be rather sterile but this isn’t the case with Forza 6. The combination of the gorgeous circuits, awesome machines and a much improved AI make for some brilliant racing. This year there are packs of mods that can be bought for use in races, they can range from moving you further up the grid at the start of the race, to an extra percentage of credits. My favourite are the ‘dare’ mods, these are like mini challenges, such as having to use the cockpit camera only, or having your braking effectiveness reduced by 10% for that race. They are certainly worth playing around with. There are more specialised mods that focus on the circuit you are at, giving you extra grip for that race. The packs can only be bought with credits you have earned in game.
If you are lucky enough to own a surround-sound headset you are in for a real treat – from the roar of 24 engines at the start of a race to tyres doing all they can to stay on the track as you speed around corners – the noise is always immense, the musical score is superb too.
Drivatars continue to appear in and they are great fun to go up against, what I noticed from this year’s entry is that although they are more aggressive, it causes them to make more mistakes so you’ll take great pleasure in seeing your friends completely mess up during the course of the race.
I’m by no means the greatest racer in the world and Forza tailors for all types of skill levels with several active assists that can be selected, meaning any player can find their level. Removing assists will give you extra credits at the end of a race so there is an incentive to make things a bit harder, you can also define how aggressive the drivatars are as well. It was however disappointing to see that Turn 10 haven’t given users as much control over the HUD like in Project CARS.
I also thought it was a shame that the car damage isn’t as realistic as Project CARS. While the cars in Forza are affected by crashes and engine parts can be damaged, causing performance issues, you won’t see wheels coming off or cars coming to a halt because of an engine failure.
As you progress through your career you’ll be able to take part in Showcase Events, which does a great job of increasing the diversity within the career and will introduce you to unique areas in the world of Motorsport that you might not have known existed, racing in a 1970’s Formula 1 car was certainly an experience! Other showcases include racing The Stig’s digital cousin, taking on some of Top Gear’s challenges and racing some of the fastest cars in the world in overtaking challenges. Endurance junkies are catered for too with a whole host of races – you can certainly see how Forza Horizon has influenced the Motorsport series.
For the first time in Forza night racing is available and this isn’t just a case of adding a black sky and making the lights look pretty! Each venue feels different, driving at 150mph through Daytona is as bright as driving through day thanks to the stadium floodlights, but at Le Mans you have to rely on the headlights of your vehicle to keep you on track.
Rainfall and fog also makes a spectacular debut in the game, not only does it look and sound incredible, but they can wipe you out if you aren’t careful. What I found most impressive was that the rain had an effect on the different road surfaces, making them react to your car just as you might expect. Lashing through a huge puddle on tarmac threw my car off course, whereas coming off the track onto muddy grass lost me valuable seconds.
If you are brave enough to take on other Forza Enthusiasts then multiplayer is right up your street. Standard multiplayer allows you to select the type of lobby you want to play in, from racing a certain type of class, or taking part in drag races or special events. The racing worked well, the lobbies are simple to run and out on track there was no lag or performance issues, even in a race with 24 cars.
Forza 6 also introduces Leagues this year, a brand new multiplayer feature. Leagues are scheduled multiplayer race series where players are organised by skill level and temperament. Again you can race up to 24 players whose skills are closely matched to yours. There is also a spectate mode which will be great for casting races. Another mode, Rivals, is a great way to show off your skills and challenge people around the world to beat the scores you set across the different classes and disciplines.
On top of all the racing there is of course the famous Forza customisation options – budding artists can spend days and weeks creating some amazing liveries and budding mechanics can head over to the garage to tune each vehicle – both can then be sold to the masses around the Forza world. Finally, an upgrade shop allows you to make improvements to your car – each item now shows you what effect it will have – whether it’s extra grip or added weight.
Turn 10 have celebrated their 10th anniversary in style, by creating another excellent title. The new weather effects are superb, the online works brilliant and the career mode plus the showcases are well worth your time.Make sure you experiment with the mods in career too. I’m pleased to say Forza is back on track.
Thanks to Xbox for their support
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